Business development

How to audit your Early Years setting's social media

Organic posting alone won’t boost your enquiries. Here’s what to do instead
A photo of Ben Rolfe, CEO of Childcare Marketing.
May 16, 2023
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In a rush? Here’s the quick run-down.

  • Despite the internet culture of being accessible online, you need to consider carefully whether organic social media posting will give a good return on investment for your business.
  • The time you spend on unpaid social media posting has value too. Insights and data such as how many hours a week you spend on your social media versus how many enquiries you have generated from it, can tell you a lot about whether it's worth your while.
  • Paid advertising campaigns will always drive more enquiries, due to the ability to focus on specific social media users, but there are ways to improve your organic posting too.

Most companies these days have some form of social media presence, including those in the Early Years sector. But is "everybody else is on social media sites" really a good enough reason to spend your time on it?

With so many websites to help parents find an Early Years setting, do you need to be on facebook, twitter, or any other social media sites as well? I spoke to Ben Rolfe, the CEO of Childcare Marketing, to find out where we might be going wrong with constant social media posting over good quality paid promotion.

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Social media marketing in the Early Years

Childcare Marketing recently surveyed 2399 nursery owners regarding social media, and the results were as follows:

  • Only 3 settings had no so me presence at all.
  • 90% of the nursery managers surveyed believed social media to be the most important enquiry source. 


  • Only 14% believe their social media is "done well".
  • Across 500 providers, only 6% of enquiries actually came from social media. This means that 94% came from other means, the majority being paid Google ads and Facebook ads.

Ben advises that paid social media ads for your setting might cost you £2-3 pounds per enquiry, but to put this into perspective, organic posting could cost you up to £60-70 per enquiry you receive.

This is because of the amount of time you have to take and the volume of posts you have to create to see a result. And, unless you have an external team of marketers to do the job, this will be time your team has to take out of their usual role.

“If you’re trying to use organic social media to increase your enquiries, think really hard about how well that’s working for you, in terms of the time you’re putting in,” advises Ben, “And, if you’re just using SoMe to communicate with your current parents, consider if there is a more efficient way to do this.”

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Why you should use social media sites

So organic posting isn't the most effective way to get enquiries coming in, but is it worth having a social media presence in the Early Years? You might, for example, use social media platforms:

  • For social networking with other nurseries and professionals
  • To connect with communities, and engage parents and families
  • To share content about early education, child development, and learning
  • To create interest and promote what you do

Once you know clearly what you're trying to achieve, you can evaluate how successful your social media platforms are at meeting those goals.

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Setting your social media goals

Next, it's time to turn those wishes for your social media into goals that are more clearly defined, so you can look at how to measure success. If we take the examples above, it might look like this:

Goal: For social networking with other nurseries and professionals
Success looks like: Achieve 5 new connections with other settings we'd like to collaborate with per month.

Goal: To stay connected with communities, parents, and families
Success looks like: At least 10 of our parents or carers comment on each of our posts.

Goal: To share content about early education
Success looks like: Post at least once a week about an Early Years topic, that generates engagement (e.g. 10 likes and 4 comments).

Goal: To create interest and promote our nursery
Success looks like: We receive 3 new enquiries per week that came solely from out social media accounts.

Measuring your return on investment

It's really important to measure how much time (and therefore money) you're spending on your social media, in order to analyse if you're getting a good return on that investment. Ben recommends setting a timer when you start working on your social media accounts and keeping track of the time spent.

Depending on the salary of the person who runs your social media accounts, it might be relatively inexpensive to make a quick post once a week. However, if you're a director and you're posting every day, your time might be significantly more expensive, so take this into account when costing your social media spend - time costs money too.

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Ben's top social media tips for your setting

If you do want your setting to have a profile on social media sites, here are Ben's top tips for how to get the most out of your organic (unpaid) posts:

  • Think of social media as outreach, not communication
    Instead of 'What we did...' posts every day, that might only be interesting to parents or family of children currently enrolled in the setting, consider how you can vary your text and images to appeal to prospective customers.
  • Lead with how your brand is different
    Use a variety of posts to stand out from the crowd. Use your platform to share a mix of knowledge, news, information, photos and even user-generated content.
  • Tag other businesses in your posts and stories
    If you take the children on trips to a local museum, for example, tag them in the photos you post of the trip. Similarly, tag local community groups who might re-share your post, increasing your reach.
  • Focus on engagement over keywords
    Think about the type of content that will inspire engagement on your posts, such as asking questions or sharing ideas. If you focus too heavily on jamming every post full of keywords, it won't read as well or be as engaging for your audience. Speak to your consumers' interests and work on the development of relationships.

The big ideas

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Official Danish Government Reopening Advice

Guidance from the Danish Health Ministry, translated in full to English.

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UK Nursery Covid-19 Response Group Recommendations

The full recommendations from a working group of over 70 nursery chains in the UK.

Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.

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